In Ontario, we have one of the most comprehensive health care systems in the world. In the mental health area, there have been many strides made - specifically as it relates to Children & Youth.
We recognize that there are significant gaps in access to mental health support services province-wide. While there has been a successful three-year strategy for children and youth, more needs to be done.
Our vision is for a comprehensive mental health system which is fully-accessible to all residents of Ontario. Specifically, that all practitioners who are providing mental health services be fully-funded by the Province of Ontario.
We recommend this be achieved through a phased-in approach over a maximum of five years. The following to be initially covered: Persons under 25 years of age, and recipients of Ontario Works and ODSP; secondly, persons over 64 years of age; finally all other residents of Ontario.
Acting upon this plan will ensure all persons have equal access to health care, as opposed to the current system described by former Senator Michael Kirby as being, “a two-tiered system of care where equity is a lost value”1
“Although psychologists cannot ... prescribe [drugs], many are trained in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy which is regarded as very effective in the treatment of depression. Further, many Psychologists have advanced training in psychopharmacology and can work together with prescribing primary physicians to treat cases of mild to moderate severity depression. This will take the pressure off the wait lists for Psychiatrists who will then be freed to treat the more severe cases in a timely manner.”2
As research will find there are numerous health, economic and societal benefits gained by acting upon this plan.
SOURCE: 1) Ontario Psychological Association - Psychology Matters (Apr 2016)
2) British Columbia Psychological Association - Letter to the Editor - Vancouver Sun